Today, while I was at working at my “seasonal-call-center” job, I could hear my phone vibrating. To answer a call while working would not be a good idea, so I waited until I went to lunch to check for messages. Let me state, before I go any further, that my phone is old, broken and low on the totem pole of available phones. When I bought it, I was waiting for Verizon (my current carrier) to get the new iPhone 4 and by the time they did, I decided to wait just a little longer for the 4S. I didn’t want to spend a lot on it…it was a transitional cell purchase. It did not come with a lot of bells and whistles – actually, I don’t generally use the bells and whistles, so it doesn’t really matter. My phone needs to store contacts, have an alarm and take calls, which it does quite nicely. It does, however, have one very annoying flaw…or more correctly, it may be user error.
Here’s my big complaint: There comes a time when the saved messages get in the way…when, rather than playing the last missed message, it starts at the beginning and I either have to delete them or save them again. Shouldn’t be a problem, right. Nope…it is! Here’s where it started.
I am a sucker for saving voice mail. When I hear a loved ones voice or a particularly sweet message, I am compelled to save it. I can’t help myself! Over the years (yes, years) , I have accumulated quite a collection. Sometimes its because of the really cute message, but probably 90% of the time, I am saving it for the sender’s voice.
I have a call from Tom, before his voice changed, about winning a basketball game. I have cheery messages from my Mom. I have sweet words of praise from a neighbor about Mike, and messages from Jake checking up on us after an earthquake hit and a jet came down in our neighborhood. The bad part is that before I can listen to the current message, I have to go all the way through each and every message that I have ever saved on this phone. The remedy is in my hands…it would be an easy thing to do, but somehow I can’t bring myself to erase those voices. Today? I was glad that I hadn’t.
In the middle of re-saving all those familiar voices, there popped up a voice I haven’t heard for a long while…it was Scott, telling me that he was standing in the middle of Home Depot with a bunch of guys and he wanted to tell me that he loved me. He would frequently do that, call me, say something way too personal and claim that he had an audience. Scott loved to tease. That message was okay, but then I went through a string of messages from him, telling me to take a coat – it was raining and he didn’t want me to get sick; that he would be late and I might need to go let the Scouts into the church; to see if we needed help unloading the truck at our local food bank. It started getting harder to sit there and listen. But then I got to the block of messages from his brothers and sisters, asking me to call as soon as I had any information about his condition. I haven’t been able to bring myself to erase those painful reminders that he is gone. I remember it all too well.
Most days, I stoically face my responsibilities. That’s life. Sometimes it’s hard and it isn’t always fair. Isn’t that what we tell our children when they voice complaints? My life is no more difficult than a lot of women’s lives and much better than many. I have been abundantly blessed and I feel almost ungrateful when I feel sad. But I remind myself that these feelings are all part of the process…of coming to grips with my grief.
Today, I found myself quickly tearing up with very little prompting. It’s not like that most days. It may have to do with it being almost Valentine’s Day. Maybe its because I keep typing up those little words of endearment for wives and sweethearts that will soon be receiving tokens of their love’s affection. I have hope that tomorrow will be better. I’ve been told that the first year is the roughest. I have five months to go. I’m not expecting anything magical to happen. It doesn’t work that way. But tomorrow is another day and I will just keep plugging along. For now, I will keep those messages close to my heart and be glad to revisit those familiar voices whenever I get a new voice-mail.